NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, January 20th
(All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (28-18-2) at Edmonton Oilers (16-27-5), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers begin a four-game homestand tonight at
Rexall Place aiming to avoid a ninth straight loss overall and a fourth
setback in a row to the Vancouver Canucks.
The Oilers have lost 15 of their last 16 games, including a season-high eight
straight. They haven't been much better at home, where they have lost four
consecutive games and 11 of their last 12.
Edmonton is last in the Western Conference with 37 points, leaving them 20
back of a playoff spot, and is returning to Canada after a 6-0 setback in
Colorado on Monday. Jeff Deslauriers allowed all six goals on 34 shots to fall
to 0-3-1 with a 5.47 goals-against average in his last four starts.
"[The Avalanche] strive off of turnovers and we did not apply much pressure on
them and it cost us," said Deslauriers. "At this point the playoffs are a long
shot, but we're professionals and we're going to come out every night and play
Both Gilbert Brule (flu-like symptoms) and Steve Staios (head/flu-like
symptoms) are questionable tonight for the Oilers, who are on their longest
losing streak since a 12-game skid from February 25-March 21, 2007.
Edmonton has lost three straight to Vancouver on the road this year after
defeating the Canucks at home on October 19. Injured netminder Nikolai
Khabibulin, out with a back ailment, started that victory, while Deslauriers
had been in net for the three losses while posting a 4.26 GAA.
That could lead to 2004 first-round pick Devan Dubnyk getting his first career
start versus the Canucks tonight. Dubnyk made his NHL debut on November 28
versus Vancouver in relief of Deslauriers, with the 23-year-old stopping 21-
of-24 shots faced. He is 0-4-0 with a 4.09 GAA in six games (4 starts) this
Vancouver has lost five of its last seven in Edmonton, but enters this contest
having halted a season high-tying three-game slide on Saturday versus
Alexandre Burrows and Henrik Sedin continued their red-hot paces in the 6-2
victory, as Burrows scored short-handed to give him 11 goals over his last
seven games while Sedin upped his NHL-leading points total to 67 with a goal
and two assists.
Sedin, second in the league with 46 assists, has eight goals and 35 helpers
over his last 25 games, a span in which he has 16 multi-point contests.
Jannik Hansen and Mikael Samuelsson added a goal and an assist each, while
Ryan Kesler and Willie Mitchell also scored. Roberto Luongo made 22 saves in
the victory and Daniel Sedin had two assists, including the 500th point of his
"It took us a little bit of time to find our legs there, but in general I'm
really proud of the way our guys competed tonight," said Vancouver head coach
Alain Vigneault. "[Pittsburgh's] a very strong team with a lot of skill."
Vancouver, which begins a four-game homestand on Thursday, is currently tied
for sixth in the West with 58 points, four back of first-place Colorado in the
Ryan Johnson has missed the last 10 games with a broken foot and Steve Bernier
has sat out five straight with a groin issue, as both players are day-to-day
but possible for tonight. Willie Mitchell, though, missed Tuesday's practice
with an upper-body injury and is unlikely to play.
Luongo has been in net for all four games versus the Oilers this year, going
3-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA. That includes a 2-0 shutout victory on October 25.
01/20 10:31:02 ET